James Walshaw takes on dual role with Ossett United after signing up for 2023-24 season

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Non-league legend James Walshaw has pledged his future again to Ossett United for the forthcoming season and will take on a new role at the club.

The 39-year-old is set to play on into his 21st season in non-league after initially breaking through the Ossett Town ranks in 2002.

But he will now mix playing with coaching after accepting an offer from manager Grant Black to join his staff as a player-coach.

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"I’m delighted to be re-signing again for next year and transitioning into a coaching capacity,” said Walshaw.

James Walshaw has taken on a player-coach role at Ossett United.James Walshaw has taken on a player-coach role at Ossett United.
James Walshaw has taken on a player-coach role at Ossett United.

"Whilst I still think I have something to offer on the pitch I also want to use my experience to help the team in other ways whether that be through motivation in the dressing room or pushing our other strikers to be their best.”

Manager Black explained the decision to offer Walshaw the coaching opportunity: “Wally as a player-coach was a no brainer for me.

"After such a vast career it would be ludicrous to not utilise the experience he’s gained over the years at this level and above.

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"He’s a great person to have in the dressing room and to have around the club as a local lad.

"I still see him as part of my squad and an option who can offer us goals through the season.

"Me and Wally have had conversations in the past on his next steps and now we feel is the right time to get him more involved in the coaching aspect of the game.”

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Another change to the coaching team has seen David Brown take over as assistant manager following the departure of Mick Norbury to Dearne & District.

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Brown, who played for both Ossett clubs prior to the merger, is delighted to take on his new role.

He said: “Obviously, it’s disappointing to see Norbs moving on and I wish him all the best, but I work closely with Grant on a daily basis and there isn’t a day goes by that we don’t talk football.

"Having worked with the juniors at Leeds United and Bradford City, I took my first coaching role with Scarborough under Darren Kelly. I feel as a coaching team you have to trust and believe in the people you work with and when the opportunity came up to work with Grant, Norbs and Ryan last season it was a no brainer.

“Stepping into the assistant manager role is a natural progression for myself. However, moving into the new season nothing much really changes for me.

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"As a coaching team we always discuss players, training sessions and game plans together. Fully confiding in one another creating a win as a team, lose a team mentality.

"My phone hasn’t stopped over recent weeks and work is well under way planning for the new season both on and off the field. We are working hard to give everyone connected with Ossett United a positive season to look forward to and enjoy.”

Black added: “Brownie has been with me for the last few years now as a coach and has done a fantastic job in his role.

"He has all the tools needed to step up to assistant and is someone who I trust.

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"He’s great with the players and I feel they all respect him as the great coach that he is. I’m really looking forward to working with him again this season and seeing him progress further.”

More changes to the backroom staff include the appointment of Gary Davenport.

“We said when we came to the club we said that this is a project and we want to improve both on and off the field,” said Black.

"Gary is another way we are doing that this season. He’ll be focusing on the analysis side of the game watching opposition teams and helping us develop game plans going forward.

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"Gary knows the game and knows how we want him to do things, so we are really excited to have him in this role to help the club and team progress further.”

Goalkeeping coach Ryan Pugh, meanwhile, is returning to Ingfield for another season after joining back in October.

He said: “It’s a pleasure to be staying on for the 23/24 season.

"Although the outcome of last season wasn’t of the standards we set ourselves, it gives us the foundations to build and grow as a club.

"I’m confident with the improved additions to the squad we will turn those fortunes around and be challenging at the top end of the table and have a squad the whole of Ossett can be proud of.”